Happy 75th Birthday, Bob!
Bob Vila has had his own remodeling and design business, spent almost three decades hosting television shows about renovation and preservation, and has written more than a dozen books about purchasing and maintaining homes. What’s more, he has supported philanthropic causes to end homelessness, build homes for those who need them, and restore historic properties.
Bob Vila turns 75 this week, and we figure there’s no better way to celebrate him than to share his wisdom with this collection of tips about home maintenance and repair. Here’s to many more healthy, happy years, Bob!
It’s always a good idea to keep a home inventory—a record of the contents of your home—in case disaster strikes. The easiest way to do this is to take a video of every room in your house, including the contents of closets, pantries, and drawers. Talk about your home’s contents as you record. Don’t forget to record the exterior too. Store the final video in the cloud or in a safe deposit box.
Bathroom Vent Fans
Banquettes are charming, but they aren’t suitable for every household. Elderly family members or others with mobility issues may have trouble getting into and out of banquettes, and large families may tire of standing up and sliding around every time someone needs to grab some ketchup or use the facilities.
Every home should have multiple fire extinguishers and keep them in the kitchen, basement, and near grills or other combustible appliances. Although different classes of fire extinguishers are meant for different applications, a rechargeable multipurpose ABC unit should do the trick for most households.
Roofs and Ladders
Front Yard Curb Appeal
Situating a Sunroom
To identify hazards to young children, get down on your hands and knees to see your home from their perspective. Make sure that outlets are covered, look for sharp corners that can hurt little heads, and be extra cautious of anything having to do with water. (While you’re at it, turn your water heater down to 125 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Cleaning Plant Pots
Before putting a new plant into a container you’ve already used, wash that pot well to avoid transferring undesirable microbes and bacteria to the new plant. Begin by scrubbing off the dirt, then soak the pot in a weak water-and-bleach solution. Next, wash the pot with water and mild dish detergent, and then rinse again.
Minimizing the amount of water that gets into your basement—and getting any water out quickly—is the key to a sound foundation. Some homes require perimeter drains and sump pumps to resolve water issues. All homeowners would be wise to make sure rain gutters stay clear and downspout extensions are angled away from the home.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a whirlpool tub, first note where the motor is located and be sure you’ll be able to access it—maybe through a closet or the basement ceiling, or in an adjacent room. Also bear in mind that these tubs are very heavy, so you may have to reinforce your floors before installing one.
Pruning Young Trees
Watering the Lawn
Faux Paint Finishes
Laundry Room Fix-Up
Protecting your family from the hot surfaces of a baseboard heater is a good reason to spring for baseboard covers, but they’re also great for upgrading a room’s appearance by hiding dingy, dinged-up baseboard heating units. Before shopping for baseboard covers, measure carefully and make sure that the kind of covers you’re eyeing are compatible with the type of heating system you have.
The upsides of installing cork flooring are considerable: It’s comfortable underfoot, it insulates well, and of course, it’s about as sustainable a material as there is. The downsides are that it’s sensitive to moisture and heat, it fades, and it can be gouged and scratched more easily than other flooring materials.
Make sure each outlet in your home is covered by a plastic plate in good condition and that no outlets are warm or smoking. Consider upgrading outlets that do not accommodate 3-prong plugs and any outlets that are close to water that are not ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
Bee and Wasp Proofing
Fall Lawn Care
Washing Machine Hoses
Keeping Fido Safe
Home Holiday Prep
Cleaning Saves Money
Bathroom Vanity Lighting
Bird Feeder Care
Rain Gutter Care
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!